Anorexia of the Soul

coffeecup4.jpgThis past weekend, Charlotte and I went to Kerrville (Texas) and stayed in a friend’s cabin for a couple of days.  Kerrville is located in what is usually referred to as the "Hill Country" area of Texas.  We had no Internet connection and no television.  We did have a chorus of birds greet us each morning.  Just behind this cabin was Turtle Creek, and on the other side of this creek were more hills. 

We picked up a San Antonio Express-News on the way back and I saw this article:  "Spiritually starved, too-thin girls seek to fill void."   This was a piece written regarding the Girls Inc. nationwide survey called "The Super-girl Dilemma."  The author of this article, Courtney Martin, describes the study as a "…depressing, nationwide survey…which reveals that girls’ obsession with thinness has gotten significantly worse in the past six years."

She goes on to say, "…A supermom of an elite college hopeful told New York Times reporter Sara Rimer, "You just hope your child doesn’t have anorexia of the soul."  I suspect this mom’s fear is very real.   In fact, perhaps it should be the concern of all of us who are parents.  Could it be that I have provided for and nurtured my child in every way imaginable except for her soul?

What do you think?  

Many of our children seem to have it all — almost.  It is amazing what some of our teens drive, the amount of money that is spent for prom, and the amount of disposable income some of them have.  This is not a knock on teens.  Rather, I am just trying to describe the world as it exists for many.  Meanwhile, so many of them have experienced some very serious problems in their short lives.  So many have experienced the effects of divorce and family turmoil.  Others are trying to somehow make do as they fend for themselves in a very confusing world.

Do you sense a starvation of the soul from friends of your children (or from your own friends)?  Is this something for which you have been concerned?  How do you address your own children’s need for something more than the material to equip them for life?   

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Anorexia of the Soul

  1. It has been a while since I have studied eating disorders but if my memory is correct there are a lot of control issues involved. For some people that is there way of controlling the situation they find themselves in. It may be in response to a family that is out of control, etc and the teenager exerts control over their own life and even over their family through this issue. People can do whatever they want to you but only you control what you eat. It can be a power play that often does not turn out too well.My point is it can result in starvation but that is not why people do it. None of the people with these disorders intended to starve themselves. It started somewhere else and eventually twisted their thinking and even skewed their own body-image. What you see when you look at them is no longer what they see when they look in the mirror. The same can happen spiritually. When we take over control of our lives our perception gets blurred and reality isn’t so clear and it can easily result in death. 

  2. Jim,
    I work with teenagers every week. I can tell you from that experience that a lot of the girls in particular seem to be willing to do anything to get attention or be accepted. Many girls will dress inappropriately because it gets attention. Others will act out or pout because it draws attention. I have found that if adults will make a point to speak to these kids regularly you will watch them bloom before your eyes. It takes nothing more than a greeting and eye contact a couple of times and you will find these kids looking forward to seeing you. It is a shame that so many of our kids are lacking that attention at home and have to seek it elsewhere. I wish all dads would recognize this fact and spend time with their daughters. In the absence of dad in some homes it falls on the godly men of the church to be men of integrity and stand in the gap before some man with darker intentions comes along.

  3. I think your post is right on target. But, I sometimes wonder if many of us have become content with filling our bellies with the pods that the pigs are eating. -bill